The news of the new direct flights from Scotland to Qatar which start later this month is very welcome and brings the number of new direct services starting this month to six, adding to the new services to Chicago, Philadelphia, Zurich, Verona and the Dominican Republic that have already been announced. This growth, which is worth hundreds of millions of pounds to the Scottish economy over the next three years, is a reflection of the much higher international profile Scotland has enjoyed due to the Independence Referendum.
Scotland possesses five major airports – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Prestwick and Inverness – and many other smaller centres. The principal problem is that of limited European connections and very few long haul flights to international destinations. Compared to other small European countries, we are poorly served. In essence, our long haul flights centre on London Heathrow, Gatwick and Amsterdam and increasingly Dublin.